UK Hosts Arkansas Saturday at Rupp Arena

 

UK Faces Arkansas Saturday at Rupp

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Off to a 18-0 start to the season, the Kentucky men's basketball team takes on Arkansas Saturday at 4 p.m. ET at Rupp Arena. The game will mark a matchup against Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey, a former UK standout.

Kentucky is coming off a hard-fought win over Auburn on the road Saturday, a 72-67 result. UK was led by freshman DeMarcus Cousins' 16 points and 11 rebounds and a double-figure scoring efforts from Patrick Patterson (12 points, five rebounds), Eric Beldsoe (13 points) and John Wall (13 points).

Kentucky Arkansas 
Gameday Information
Game Notes Kentucky Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader | Arkansas Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Date & Time Sat., Jan 23, 4:00 p.m
Coverage TV: SEC Network
Radio: BBSN
GameTracker GameTracker
Online Audio listen
Live Video via ESPN360
Live Blog
Location Rupp Arena
Lexington, Ky.
Arkansas Razorbacks at a Glance
Head Coach John Pelphrey
Overall Record  117-96
2009-10 Record  23-12
Ranking  NR
Series Record  UK leads 23-7
Last Meeting  UK won 79-63
2009-10 Team Stats UK UA
Scoring Offense 82.2 75.6
Scoring Defense 65.3 72.7
FG Percentage 50.0%  46.1%
3-point FG Percentage 39.0%  36.8%
FT Percentage 68.6% 66.7%
Rebound Margin +9.8 -2.2
Assists 16.2 15.0
Turnovers 15.1  13.3
2009-10 Stat Leaders
Scoring UK: John Wall (17.1)
UA: Roteni Clark (18.3)
Rebounding UK: DeMarcus Cousins (9.3)
UA: Marshawn Powell (6.7)
Assists UK: John Wall (6.9)
UA: Courtney Fortson (8.25)
3-point FG Percentage UK: Eric Bledsoe (47.1%)
UA: Roteni Clark (49.3%)
Blocks UK: DeMarcus Cousins (1.8)
UA: Marshawn Powell (1.3)
Steals UK: John Wall (2.1)
UA: Marshawn Powell (1.4)

Pregame Quotes

UK Head Coach John Calipari

On Rotnei Clarke…
“I recruited him really hard and I loved him as a high school player. I’ve watched four or five tapes and he doesn’t need a whole lot of time to get it off. He works real hard to get shots off, and if he takes 15 three’s and hits 11, it’s been one heck of a start to our season. We aren’t going to stop him from shooting them. Now, with (Courtney) Fortson, what happens is you have to play a little four-on-four, because you aren’t going to leave the one kid. He is really good at getting to the rim. They are still trying to figure out a play with him and how many minutes. They are still trying to figure out their freshmen and power forward. I told Patrick (Patterson), you have a real challenge on your hands. The big kid inside, Michael Washington, everyone knows him, he’s been there so long. He is physical and strong, and they come off the bench with other guards. I recruited the Glenn Bryant, so I know him. He is very good.”

On Kentucky’s No. 2 ranking…
“We are playing for a No. 1 seed. If this game Saturday helps us get a No. 1 seed, that’s all fine. But, you don’t know. It’s not life or death. Our thing is, let’s go out and let’s see if we are playing the way we need to play. What I did Tuesday, the meeting was based on we need to start practicing like we are on a two-game slide. We just lost two games in a row. Now, how are we going to practice? What are we going to do to get ourselves ready? What is your mentality? What is your focus like if we just lost two? Because if we don’t start stepping up and practicing that way, we are going to lose two in a row. If we aren’t competing, we are going to start losing games. We’ve stepped it up a little bit. I’ve been more aggressive in practice. We stretched practice out a little bit the past few days, probably 15 minutes more than I would normally do it this time of year.”

On playing Eric Bledsoe and John Wall together…
“Neither one was worried about the other in the recruiting process. I’ve been doing this long enough that if two of my best players are five men, I’ve got to figure out how to play them both at the same time. If two are shooting guards, I figure out how to play both of them at the same time. With these two, they are two of our better players and you play them. They are like two brothers. They enjoy playing with each other and they enjoy helping each other. One’s success is not affecting the other, unless it is in a positive way.”

On teamwork…
“The challenge in what we do as coaches is not to take bad players, get them to play together and coach them up. It’s to get a group of really talented players for the entire season, not half the season, and not 16 or 20 games. It’s to compete together and put themselves behind our goals. Their role is not more important than our goals. What it seems like with Patrick (Patterson), even DeMarcus (Cousins), and Darius (Miller), it seems like they have stepped back for the good of our team and whatever we need them to do. It tells you we have a bunch of good guys. I like my team and I enjoy coming in every day.”

On guarding Arkansas…
“We are still trying to figure out what we are going to do. The biggest thing is, (Rotnei Clarke) is going to make shots. We have to accept that he is going to make some tough shots. But, we are trying to beat their team, not beat Rotnei. To make everything tough for him is part of what the battle is. If Fortson had been there all year, I’m guessing their record would be 14-4. They would probably be 2-2 in the league and 14-4, when you look at who they played and who they lost to. That is without him. They are a team that if they were healthy, they would have a different record. They are getting there. They are going to come in this building and play well. They have nothing to lose. Let it go. Shoot balls. Shoot from half court. Shoot a hook. It doesn’t matter. Let it go. That’s what we face every game. On our side, I’m trying to keep up with that mindset of just play. If we lose, it’s been one heck of a start to the season. Play; don’t be timid, play. Go crazy on defense, play. Dive on the floor; make the easy play; if you’re open, then shoot it. Play; don’t play not to lose. If we lose, we lose.”
 

Kentucky Players

#5, Ramon Harris, Sr., G

On Arkansas’s Rotnei Clarke and how dangerous he can be…
“He can be real dangerous. Just seeing his improvement from last year to this year shows how good of a player that he is and how hard he works. They will be pretty excited coming in here tomorrow since they beat Texas and Oklahoma last year.”

On the respect Kentucky players have for Arkansas…
“This team is proving themselves when they play big teams. They almost beat Texas this year as well, and with us being at home will give us a little advantage, but we know they will come ready to play.”

On how the team keeps their focus…   
“By being humble and staying hungry. Just because we’ve won 18 games so far, it still means we have more games to play. We still haven’t reached where we want to be yet, and what we’ve done so far isn’t good enough.”

On how he generates the mode of thought or mentality….
“Because we know where we want to go, how much time we have to get there, and we still have to get there to achieve that goal. So guys are in here working hard and taking it for real and we’re making the best of it.”

#11, John Wall, Fr., G

On guarding the 3-point shot especially with Rotnei Clark …
“If you are not ready for that then you might get beat by 40. If he gets going it is going to be tough to stop him. Our main thing this week in practice is to fight up the screens and trying to connect. He is not really tall, but he has a quick release. Once he gets hot, you are in trouble.”

On if the team is getting close to finishing off games in the second half …
“I don’t know. It is just development. We have to keep it going in the games. We have certain plays that we are suppose to run when we have the lead but we don’t have the intensity that we had before we got the lead. Once we get a big lead, we don’t play hard or go after the basket. We just lay back and that is when teams make runs at us. Until we can break that habit, it will be tough.”

On Coach Cal telling the team to practice like they are on a two-game losing streak …
“I think that is the best thing that Coach Cal has done with us except for Camp Cal when we were off for break. I think that is the best thing he did because everybody is playing different and harder than we did before.  When you think about it, when you lose two games you are going to be upset. He hasn’t lost two games in a row in a long time, so he got our mind set to practice that way.”

#21, Perry Stevenson, Sr., F

On the pressure of possibly being No. 1 in the polls if they beat Arkansas …
“We don’t really think about it too much. You can’t worry about it because you cannot let it affect the way that you are playing. So, we are not worried about it at all. That is the way to go.”


On how he feels the team is playing …
“I think that we are playing well. I mean, we are winning (so we are doing something right.) You can always get better though. We need to make more shots, run harder, and rebound better, really any statistic.”
 
On how important to the team it has meant for John Wall and Eric Bledsoe to mesh together like they have …
“It might be the best thing ever. Having two guards that are that explosive and can handle the ball (is great.) They can play the two-guard and play pretty much anywhere on the floor too. That is definitely not a bad thing to have on your team. They are not only teammates but really good friends. It helps to have that kind of chemistry on the floor, especially when it is the guards running the dribble drive offense.”